First came the smartphone, then the smartwatch… now the ’smart scooter’. Gogoro, a Taiwanese startup founded by former HTC executives, have unveiled the Smartscooter, an electric scooter that syncs with your smartphone to create an interactive commuting experience. The hi-tech vehicle links up with a rider’s phone via Bluetooth, allowing the user to program the bike’s settings, download sound effects for start up, and even set light patterns for the LED headlights. The scooter also runs on swappable batteries; when your power runs low, you visit a charging kiosk and swap your spent batteries out for new ones. Unveiled at the recent CES 2015 trade show in Las Vegas, Gogoro is pegged for general release this year, with no fixed date or price revealed. Metro spoke with company spokesperson Megan Zaroda to learn more.
Why launch this ’smart scooter’?
It's a way to distribute energy in a smarter way that would have the greatest impact on our lives and those of future generations. With more than 200 million scooters in the world today, Gogoro saw a way to create a more powerful Smartscooter that uses a battery-swapping versus charging or gas-fueled infrastructure.
Is it easy to handle just like the regular scooters?
Yes. The Smartscooter was developed from the ground-up to be easily fixed and with the additional benefit of an electric motor, there are much fewer moving parts that can break or fail, thus reducing the need for regular maintenance.
In what way is the bike ’smart’?
The Smartscooter and Gogoro Energy Network were designed to leverage connectivity in a variety of beneficial ways, including scooter and battery diagnostics, performance and ride details as well as finding the closest GoStations for charged batteries. With connected diagnostics, the rider and Gogoro are able to detect and identify potential issues like accidents, broken taillights and others.
Do you expect a specific consumer for this scooter?
Gogoro sees the Smartscooter as a transportation solution for all urban residents, and particularly those aged 18-28. These young urbanites are part of a generation that care about design, performance, and being socially responsible with the environment. It’s also the age when young adults are making their first vehicle purchase. Much like when you make the decision to be a Coke or Pepsi person, Gogoro wants to ensure electric is an option over gas for these first-time riders.